Project Management: A Practical Exploration
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
As part of my Business Management Degree, I recently finished a unit on the Fundamentals of Project Management. While I found this unit slightly challenging, I really enjoyed learning about the concepts and real-time application of the project management theory and frameworks.
The great thing about this degree is that the assignments can all be applied to your own workplace, which is useful because at a financial technology company there’s always a few projects on the go. So what exactly did I learn from all this? Well funny you asked because I’ve elaborated on some of my key takeaways below!
I discovered what exactly Project Management is and what the key components are.
Project management can be defined as the ‘application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements’ (Jeong and Bozkurt, 2014, p.183). Jeong and Bozkurt (2014) also highlight that project management can then be broken down into five process groups; initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing.
These components are important parts of the project lifecycle, which ‘consists of several stages during which deliverables are created and end with approval of the deliverables’ (Assudani and Kloppenborg, 2010, p.68).
I learnt about project charters, and why they’re important.
Project charters are the documents that spell ‘out the nature and scope of the work, and management’s expectations for results’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). The project charter also includes the project’s goals, which define the direction and destination of the project and provide the bigger picture to all involved stakeholders (Belicove, 2013).
Project charters are important because of the communication piece, as so often with teams there is a lack of communication between departments and management. Having a project charter means that someone has to sit down and nut out the details and expectations for the project, providing greater clarity for the entire team.
I had fun trawling through the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).
As part of the coursework, I planned my project using the Project Integration Management (PIM) framework. This framework is internationally recognised and is part of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).
The key components of PIM are as follows:
Initiating — Develop Project Charter
Planning — Project Management Plan
Execution — Direct and Manage Project
Monitoring & Control — Monitor and Control Project and Perform Integrated Change Control
Closure — Final Product
I learnt why stakeholder analysis is an important consideration in any project.
In stakeholder analysis, it is important to consider ‘which functions or people might be affected by the project’s activities or outcomes, who will contribute resources (people, space, time, tools, and money), and who will use and benefit from the project’s output’ (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). This means understanding the needs of both clients and staff, in order to achieve a better outcome.
I also learnt about the importance of considering the requirements of the businesses investors and board members, who are heavily invested in the future success of the company (in my particular case).
And lastly, I tested around 10 project management softwares to discover my current favourite…
And the winner is monday.com, formally known as Dapulse (they recently had a name change).
There are some great features within this software such as; task management tools, timeline visualisation, the ability to assign team members to tasks and communicate within the program. It’s definitely worth checking out as an option if you need some task/project management software for your business.
Project Management has definitely been an interesting unit and I’m looking forward to starting my next two units shortly.
Until next time,
Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
References Used Above
Assudani, R. and Kloppenborg, T. (2010). Managing Stakeholders for Project Management Success: An Emergent Model of Stakeholders. Journal of General Management, 35(3), p.68.
Belicove, M. (2013). Understanding Goals, Strategy, Objectives And Tactics In The Age Of Social. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikalbelicove/2013/09/27/understanding-goals-strategies-objectives-and-tactics-in-the-age-of-social [Accessed 17 Dec. 2017].
Project Management Institute. (2018). Learning: Featured Topics. [online] Available at: https://www.pmi.org [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). The Four Phases of Project Management. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/the-four-phases-of-project-management [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
Harvard Business Review Staff (2016). Your Project Needs a Charter. Here’s What That Means. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/your-project-needs-a-charter-heres-what-that-means [Accessed 12 Jan. 2018].
Jeong, K. and Bozkurt, I. (2014). Evaluating a Project Management Simulation Training Exercise. Simulation & Gaming, 45(2), pp.183–184.